Understanding Auction Terminology: An Auction Glossary

Understanding Auction Terminology: A Glossary for Bidders and Sellers

Auctions have been an integral part of the global marketplace for centuries, providing a dynamic platform for buyers and sellers to engage in the trade of various goods and assets. Whether it’s antiques, real estate, art, vehicles, or collectibles, auctions offer an exciting and efficient way to conduct transactions. However, for newcomers and even seasoned participants, the language used in the auction world can be overwhelming. To empower bidders and sellers with confidence, we present a comprehensive glossary of auction terminology, brought to you by Miedema Auctioneering, Inc., a leading Live & Online Auction company. Join us in this blog: Understanding Auction Terminology: A Glossary for Bidders and Sellers.


The auctioneer is the individual who leads the auction event, guiding the bidding process and facilitating the sale. Auctioneers are skilled professionals responsible for setting the pace, announcing bids, and ensuring a fair and transparent auction experience.

Hammer Price

The hammer price refers to the final bid amount at which the auctioneer strikes the gavel, signifying the acceptance of the highest offer and concluding the bidding process. Today, many auctioneer’s don’t use an actual gavel during a live auction, instead they say “SOLD” and the buyer shows their bidder card and the auctioneer will repeat the buyer number to signify the end of that auction lot.

Buyer's Premium

The buyer’s premium is an additional fee charged to the winning bidder on top of the hammer price. This fee is usually a percentage of the final bid and serves as a commission for the auction house.

Reserve Auction vs. No Reserve (Absolute) Auction

In a reserve auction, the sale is subject to the seller’s approval, as the final bid must meet or exceed the reserve price. On the other hand, an absolute auction is one where the item is sold to the highest bidder, regardless of the final bid amount.

Bid Increments

Bid increments are predetermined price steps by which bids must increase during the auction. They ensure that bids are raised in an organized manner and prevent minimal bid increases.

Absentee Bidding

Also known as a proxy bid, absentee bidding allows individuals to place bids on items before the live auction begins. The auction house will then represent the bidder during the event, bidding on their behalf up to their specified maximum bid. Not all auction companies provide this option, make sure to contact your auctioneer prior to the auction to make appropriate arrangements.

Live Auction vs. Online Auction

A live auction takes place in a physical location, with bidders raising their paddles or hands to make bids. In contrast, an online auction occurs on a online platform, where participants can bid remotely through a secure website. Miedema Auctioneering offers both options, live & online bidding at the same event. Whether you have equipment or real estate, Miedema Auctioneeirng has the technology and ability to capitalize both marketplaces, live and online.

As is, Where Is

Items sold “as is, where is” are auctioned without any warranties or guarantees. Buyers are responsible for inspecting the items themselves and accepting them in their current condition.

Auction Catalog

The auction catalog is a comprehensive list of all items up for bidding in a particular auction. It contains detailed descriptions and photographs of each item, providing bidders with essential information. This also helps bidder know which lot the auctioneer is on so they know when the lot or lots they are interested will be sold.

Bidder Registration

Before participating in an auction, bidders are required to register with the auction house. This process involves providing identification and agreeing to the terms and conditions of the auction. Typically, this process if very fast. Most auction companies require your license number and a good contact number. That’s it! However, every auction company is different, make sure to confirm there are no other requirements before arriving at the auction location.

Opening Bid

The opening bid is the initial bid made by the auctioneer to kickstart the bidding process. Bidders then raise their bidder card in response to the opening bid.


Ringmen, also known as Auction Ringmen, are experienced assistants who work alongside the auctioneer during live auctions. They play a crucial role in the auction process, spotting bids from bidders throughout the venue and communicating them to the auctioneer. Ringmen are trained to engage with the audience, encourage bidding, and ensure that no bids are overlooked, contributing to the lively and dynamic atmosphere of a live auction.

Understanding auction terminology is crucial for both bidders and sellers to navigate the auction world with confidence and success. Whether you’re a seasoned participant or a first-time auction-goer, familiarizing yourself with these key terms will enable you to make informed decisions during the bidding process. At Miedema Auctioneering, Inc., we are committed to providing transparent and exciting auction experiences for all our clients.

Are you ready to dive into the world of auctions? Whether you have valuable assets to sell or are looking to find items to add to your interests, Miedema Auctioneering, Inc. is here to assist you. Explore our upcoming live and online auctions, where you’ll find a diverse range of goods and assets waiting to be discovered. Register as a bidder or seller today and experience the thrill of participating in one of our renowned auctions!

Our team of experienced auctioneers and staff are dedicated to providing top-notch service and ensuring that both buyers and sellers have a seamless auction experience. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or need assistance with the registration process, auction details or looking to speak to someone about having your own auction.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to be a part of our exciting auctions! Join Miedema Auctioneering, Inc. and unlock a world of possibilities in the dynamic and vibrant auction marketplace. Happy bidding!